Things To Do In Johannesburg
There are always fun things to do in Johannesburg, the economic hub of South Africa.
Historians may explore the city’s rich history from the gold rush to South Africa’s independence as thrillseekers bungee jump, take a hike or paddle a boat through Zoo Lake.
Shoppers may shop till they drop in the electrifying markets all over Jozi and party goers can never run out of spots to explore.
Jo’burg is situated in the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills which is the center of gold and diamond trade. It is also the largest city in Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa.
This has earned Johannesburg the nickname City of Gold.
The mine dumps that are visible throughout the city speak volumes about Johannesburg’s legacy of gold mining and its neighbor Soweto reveals the years of oppression during South Africa’s dark ages.
Soweto, an acronym of South Western Townships originated from native African worker settlements and was, for years, separated as a residential area for black South Africans during apartheid. Soweto, now forms part of Johannesburg and is a must visit for every visitor to South Africa.
Johannesburg became a city shortly after gold was discovered at a farm in 1886 and has grown into a beautiful manmade urban forest due to the 6 million trees that dot the city.
Things to do in Johannesburg
As in most African cities, you will find many exhilarating things to do in Johannesburg during your South African trips.
The best way, of course, is to hop on a Red Bus city tour which explores the different parts of the city with a radio commentary featuring 15 different languages.
Don’t miss out on the fun. Find cheap flights to Johannesburg on Vacay Holiday Deals.
Tourist attractions to visit in Johannesburg
- Constitution Hill: Take a guided tour through the prison and women’s’ jail as you learn South Africa’s struggle for freedom and independence
- Steam train ride: Take in views of the landscape aboard a heritage steam train trip from Jo’burg to Magaliesburg
- Carlton Centre: Take in mind-blowing views of Johannesburg from the observation deck on the tallest building in Africa
- Liliesleaf Farm: Visit the underground headquarters of the African National Congress where many freedom fighters were arrested
- Mandela House: Visit the Late President Nelson Mandela’s home in Soweto
- Apartheid Museum: Watch the gripping rise and fall of apartheid through a guided tour
- James Hall Transport Museum: View extremely rare steam collections of steam vehicles, penny farthings and ox wagons
- Water Sisulu Botanical Gardens: Have a picnic beneath the waterfall and a guided tour through the gardens
Artistic things to do in Johannesburg
- Graffiti Walk: Explore art from international and local artists from all over eGoli
- Workshop Newton: Shop for African jewelry and fashion from creative designers in downtown Joburg
- Lesedi Cultural Village: Visit the Zulu, Pedi, Xhosa, Ndebele, and Basotho ethnic groups, buy their artifacts and ask them questions about their traditions
- Bioscope Independent Cinema: Catch a classic movie at their outdoor rooftop screening
- Soweto Theatre: Have a night out cultural experience as you watch musicals and plays
- Kitchener’s at the Milner Hotel: Watch up and coming comedians every Tuesday at the comedy night
Where to eat in Johannesburg
- The Living Room in Maboneng: Eat delicious tapas and wash them down with cocktails from the plant-rich rooftop at the Living Room
- Locrate Market, Soweto: Sample delicious food from their ‘mother truckers’ and enjoy craft beer, poetry readings and live music
- Uncle Merv’s in Maboneng: Enjoy a classic shake and expertly brewed coffee. They could rent you a bike so that you explore the inner city
- SAB World of Beer, Newtown: Sample raw barley and hops and discover the economic and political history of this brewery in South Africa
Outdoor things to do in Johannesburg
- Melville Koppies: Take a hike at this half-century old nature reserve for a chance to see over 200 bird species, slender mongooses, genets and hedgehogs
- Mountain Sanctuary Park: Swim in the natural rock pools and take in soul-stirring views of the valley down below
- Hennops Hiking Trail: Soak up the scenery around Hennops River and dive in the pool when your hike is over
- Waterfall Centre: Do epic flips and trampoline dodgeball with your friends on 50 interconnected trampolines
- Montecasino Bird Garden: Stroll through the cycad gardens as you view over 60 bird species and unusual mammals like the sloth and lemur
- Orlando Towers: Bungee jump from the 2 giant cooling towers that bear beautiful artwork
- Zoo Lake: Feed the ducks and geese and rent a 6 people rowboat with your gang
Places to stay in Johannesburg
- Garden Court Milpark
- Crowne Plaza Johannesburg – The Rosebank
- African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel
- The Peech Hotel
- Monarch Hotel
- The Residence Boutique Hotel
- 54 on Bath Hotel
- Southern Sun Hyde Park
- Park Inn Sandton
- The View Boutique Hotel
- Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel, Sandston
- Garden Court Morningside Sandton
- Arum Place Guest House
- The Marion on Nicol, Boutique Hotel of Distinction
- Tintswalo Waterfall
- Morrells Manor House
- Palm Continental Hotel
- Hyde Park Villas
- Ginnegaap Guest House
Best time to visit Johannesburg
The weather is warm and dry from March to May and from September to November (average high and low temperatures are 77°F and 55°F respectively).
Crowds are less and accommodation prices are lower so it’s probably the best time to schedule a Johannesburg trip.
Johannesburg’s winter starts from June to late August and many visitors flock there during summer from December to late February when average high and low temperatures are about 79°F and 57°F respectively.
Visitors who want to include fairs, events, and festivals in their things to do in Johannesburg list should visit during spring from September to November.
How to get to Johannesburg
- By air: Johannesburg is served by the O.R Tambo International Airport. It is best to get a hotel shuttle bus from the airport if you are a first time visitor.
- By train: Gautrain runs every 12 minutes and the railway station is a short walk from O.R.T airport. You can use the train to visit neighborhoods all around Johannesburg
- By road: You can hire a car from the rentals at the airport. It is however not advisable to do this as the city has few landmarks which make it easy to get lost. The drivers are also very aggressive so you have to be extremely careful when on the road. Book a metered taxi from the airport’s information desk for your own safety. A taxi ride usually takes 40 minutes from the airport to downtown Joburg. For comfort and luxury, you can take a limo from many of the limo service providers at the airport.
What to pack for a Johannesburg trip
- Lightweight summer clothes (November – March)
- Bathing suit
- Light jacket
- Warm clothes (June – August)
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Insect repellent
- Antimalarial drugs
- Semi-formal outfits (For events and dinner)
If the City of Gold is on your wish list, check out the Johannesburg tour packages available or call an agent to customize your trip.
|Languages spoken||English, Afrikaans|
|Currency used||South African Rand (ZAR)|